NFL Week 1: Breakout Players

Story posted September 14, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Joe Tuman

Week 1 of the NFL season has come and gone, and it was a whirlwind.

There were major upsets, several offensive explosions and even a tie.

Amid the chaos, several players had big days, including some who may have surprised fans with their play.

Can they sustain success, or will they simply fall back down to Earth? Here’s a closer look at some of these breakout performers:


Dotson, Samuel and Forrest, Washington Commanders

In the first game in Commanders history, a trio of players left their mark.

In the receiving room, former Penn Stater Jahan Dotson impressed with a pair of impressive touchdown catches.

Dotson was a reliable red zone target, but his teammate Curtis Samuel hauled in even more passes.

After a nagging groin injury severely limited his production in 2021, Samuel bounced back in the season opener against Jacksonville.

The former Panther hauled in eight receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown to help Washington win.

On defense, second-year safety Darrick Forrest also stuck out in his first career start.

Forrest notched the game-winning interception, while additionally forcing a fumble and a pass breakup during the contest.

Big things could be ahead for all three players if they keep this up.

Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks

Geno Smith started his first Week 1 game since 2014 against Denver on Monday.

Doubted all offseason by many, Smith began his season with a win on Monday Night Football.

Completing 23 of 28 pass attempts, Smith was accurate, tossing for 195 yards and two touchdowns.

While the victory over Denver will be remembered for its bizarre conclusion, Smith nonetheless  looked like a guy who deserved to be an NFL starter all night long.

Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons

Cordarrelle Patterson already broke out last season, but could be in store for another leap in 2022.

Patterson was mainly used as a ‘swiss army knife’ a year ago, but the opener against New Orleans told a different story.

Patterson was utilized as a true running back, carrying the ball 22 times for 122 yards and a touchdown.

Patterson is as fast as they come, but can also be a bruiser at times as well. 

If the Falcons use him as a full-time runner, Patterson may be a full-fledged star.

Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs

Seventh round rookie Isiah Pacheco got plenty of buzz out of training camp this summer and he backed it up against Arizona.

Pacheco led the Chiefs in carries and rushing yards, while also finding the end zone.

Should Pacheco build off his performance, the Rutgers product will thrive beside Patrick Mahomes.

Kyle Philips, Tennessee Titans

Another rookie who stood out Sunday was former UCLA wideout Kyle Philips.

The Titans needed someone to step up after trading A.J. Brown, and Philips did just that in his debut.

Lining up in the slot, he moved the chains by recording six catches for 66 yards, while also returning four punts for 62 yards.

That type of versatility is essential for any offense, and Philips will look to continue providing it for Tennessee. 

Marcus Epps, Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles were believed to have a hole at safety, yet Marcus Epps silenced these claims on Sunday.

Expected to be a full-time starter for the first time in 2022, Epps laid some major hits down against Detroit on his way to a 10 tackle outing.

While he didn’t do much in pass coverage, Epps’ primary role at strong safety is to stop the run and rack up tackles.

He did just that on Sunday, and the combo of Epps and C.J. Gardner-Johnson could prove fruitful in Philly going forward.

Joe Tuman is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at